Farm update: April 1

Spring is finally here…with the exception of a small blizzard that blew in Friday evening, of course. The weather right now is capricious – gorgeous one minute, hurricane-like the next. But we haven’t yet spent spring on our farm, so we’re ready for all of it. Here’s what we’re up to these days!

Deldee 01 sml

Why the long face?

Despite this photo, our pastures are greening up rather nicely, so we have a new resident at Quiet Farm. Temporary Pony belongs to our neighbor, and since we have grazing land available and no animals to graze it, Temporary Pony lives at Quiet Farm until she goes to her new home later this spring. She is a lovely, spirited horse who likes to sprint along the fence line, and she also runs straight at you full-bore when you’re out in the field – heartwarming and yet terrifying at the same time. It’s a pleasure to have an actual animal here; it makes our farm feel much more legitimate!

Garlic in Oil 01 sml

You’ll wonder how you ever lived without this potion.

I like keeping my refrigerator and pantry stocked with all manner of interesting homemade condiments and pickled things and spreads and vinaigrettes for dressing up even the simplest roasted vegetables. One of my favorites is garlic confit, which is very simply whole garlic cloves simmered gently in olive oil until soft and creamy. The cloves can be spread thickly on toast or tossed with pasta or added to soup, and the oil itself is good for anything, especially salads. As long as the cloves are covered by the oil, this will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator, but you’ll never worry about it spoiling since you’ll use it everywhere.

Frost Propellers 01 sml

Looking west towards the Grand Mesa.

Our commercial orchard neighbors have been testing their fans this past week (the tall white posts in the picture above). Once the apple trees bud out, a hard freeze can be devastating. If the weather is forecast to turn particularly cold, these giant fans will activate to keep warmer air blowing through the orchard, thereby protecting the delicate buds. The enormous fans sound like a fleet of helicopters landing nearby, but hopefully we’ll have a mild spring and they won’t need to be used much.

Seedlings 01 sml

Let the growing begin!

Our unheated sunroom is quickly becoming a propagation space. Of course, we still don’t have any beds ready outside to transplant all of these gorgeous little sproutlings into, nor do we yet have a game fence to protect them. Perhaps I should revamp my to-do list.

Bear Fence 01 sml

Western Slope bears can read, hence the sign.

One of our biggest accomplishments this past week was successfully setting up our beehive and its accompanying Bear Defense Perimeter. I brought the (mostly empty) hive over from the Front Range in the backseat of my car (seriously, don’t do this) and we set it up in the northwest corner of our property. Colorado Parks & Wildlife generously provided us with an electrified fence to repel hungry black bears, who can do monumental damage to beehives. CPW isn’t expecting an aggressive bear season this year because the wet winter means there is plenty of food up on the mesa, but there’s no reason to take any chances.

Coming up: refurbishing the chicken house! Homemade granola bars! An agritourism workshop hosted by the state of Colorado! Have a great week, friends!

 

14 thoughts on “Farm update: April 1

  1. Just came in from 5 hours getting my raised beds up & running to read such a nice update! Glad all is going well out west, now get those ‘beds’ ready! 😉

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      • Cool veggies. The spinach and garlic really started coming up since the last snow. Starting everything else from seed this year. Kale, Romaine, Carrots, Collards, Radishes, Chard, Mustard Greens, Arugula, Green & Red Leaf Lettuce, Peas, and Cabbage. Hopefully some will be done so I’ll have room when it’s time for summer veggies!

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      • What a bounty, Susan! I’m doing great with kale, but my cabbage starts are struggling. I too am trying to start just about everything from seed this year and am learning quickly that indoor watering can be a challenge! I seem to think that the plants need as much water as I do, when in fact they’d rather dry out a bit. I learn more every time I grow something!

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  2. One could easily get attached to Temporary Pony. Love your seed starting rack! There are always containers till you get your beds ready. Your hive setup looks great, hope you remember where the switch is. You have to touch the live fence just once, then you’ll never forget the switch.

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    • Jim, we are already a little attached to Temporary Pony! I’ll be quite sad when she goes on to her new home. And we haven’t touched the bear fence yet, but I suspect we’ll learn that lesson sooner rather than later.

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  3. Those fans can be so obnoxious. They were installed over the citrus after the very bad freeze in 1990, but then never used. We just turned them on to be sure they were operational. I am pleased than I never needed to use them at night, because I know how bad they were over avocado orchards when I was in school.

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    • They’re definitely loud, but since our area’s industry is predicated on successful fruit harvests, we’re happy to put up with them. Plus, those fans were here before we were so we don’t have much room to complain!

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      • Wow, that is something you don’t hear too often. Years ago, people who moved into the Santa Clara Valley complained about the aroma of fruit and smoke from burning stubble from the orchards. Really, they complained about ‘everything’. Yet, they did not understand why we did not like their unsightly big homes and fences . . . . and constant complaining.

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  4. Pingback: Farm update: April 15 | Finding Quiet Farm

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